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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — All functions of the Life Skills Support Center, Yokota’s mental health clinic, have been united under one roof, the 374th Medical Group commander said Friday.

It now occupies a large part of the base’s dental clinic; that building will be renamed the “Medical Annex,” said Col. Mark Presson, who’s also the U.S. Forces Japan command surgeon and 5th Air Force senior medical adviser.

“We’ve consolidated all the services in one place,” he said. “That’s also made it a little more private with very generous room and space. It’s a conducive environment for therapy and treatment.”

Agencies such as Family Advocacy and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program, or ADAPT, were among those making the move. The base’s Educational and Developmental Intervention Services, run by the Navy, is expected to follow soon, Presson said.

Although hundreds of Yokota airmen have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and a large group returned last week, Presson said the Life Skills Support Center has yet to see an increase in patients seeking treatment for war-related issues like post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We have not seen a significant issue at Yokota involving that,” he said.

Praise for AHLTAThis past fall, the Yokota Medical Treatment Facility transitioned to paperless filing of outpatient medical records.

Military hospitals worldwide have adopted the computerized medical records system known as AHLTA for Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application. Designed to increase efficiency for patients and providers, it makes outpatient records available 24 hours a day at all Defense Department medical treatment facilities and enables multiple physicians to access the charts at once.

Yokota was among the last to receive AHLTA, but Presson said Friday that the changeover has gone “much better than anticipated. Most of the bugs have been worked out and the staff is appreciative of the benefits it’s brought. Notes are now legible because it’s computerized.”

The switch from the old system temporarily led to longer visits at the Yokota clinic and fewer available appointments.

“But the quality of care has been improved because of AHLTA,” Presson said. “It’s been a good deal for patients and providers.”

Health options for womenThis past summer, the Yokota clinic, which is to serve the base’s entire female population, had just two obstetricians/gynecologists on staff. Since then, another doctor and nurse practitioner have been added. Now, Presson said, “Access is very good. There have been no significant issues.”

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